Friday, October 5, 2018

Top 3 +1 in LPRT Semi-finals at 2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open

The top three seeds plus one are through to the semi-finals in the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) singles draw at the 2018 UnitedHeathcare US Open Racquetball Championships in Minneapolis, but that plus one is Gabriela Martinez the current International Racquetball Federation (IRF) World Champion in Women's Singles. Martinez defeated 4th seed Alexandra Herrera, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9, in the quarterfinals to set up a showdown with 7 time defending US Open champion, Paola Longoria, who was a straight game winner over Natalia Mendez, 11-2, 11-1, 11-4.

Martinez got the better of Longoria in the Women's Singles final at the IRF World Championships in August, so Longoria will have added incentive on Saturday.

On the other side of the draw, 2nd seed Frédérique Lambert will play 3rd seed Samantha Salas in a rematch of a US Open semi-final two years ago, which Salas won to reach her 1st and only US Open final. Lambert was a finalist last year, and will be looking to get back there with a victory over Salas.

In the quarterfinals, Lambert had the more difficult match, as she needed five games to defeat 23rd seed Yazmine Sabja, 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 7-11, 11-1. The win is a measure of revenge for Lambert, who lost to Sabja at the IRF World Championships in August. Lambert seemed to be cruising after winning the first two games, and was up 6-1 in game three, when she seemed to run out of steam.

That lack of energy led to her dropping game three and four before coming back with a vengeance in game five, as she stormed out to a 7-0 lead, when Sabja called a timeout. That didn't stop Lambert from going up 9-0, although another timeout led to Sabja's first point.

But that was her only point, as Lambert was able to finish the match off on her second match point, closing out the game 11-1.

In her quarterfinal match, Salas went four games with Rhonda Rajsich, winning 11-1, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4.

Salas and Lambert have met 16 times on tour, and Salas holds the advantage, winning 12 of those 16 matches. Lambert has only played Longoria (27 times) more often than Salas, and Salas has only played Longoria (46) and Rajsich (18) more often than Lambert, so they are very familiar with each other.

The LPRT is streaming matches live from Minneapolis. Check out the LPRT Live link on their website. The LPRT semi-finals will be 10 AM and 1 PM Saturday with the final on Sunday at 10 AM CDT.

2018 UnitedHealthcare US Open
Minneapolis, Minnesota - October 3-7, 2018

LPRT Singles - Quarterfinals - Friday

1) Paola Longoria d. 8) Natalia Mendez, 11-2, 11-1, 11-4
12) Gabriela Martinez d. 4) Alexandra Herrera, 11-6, 11-8, 6-11, 11-9

3) Samantha Salas d. 6) Rhonda Rajsich, 11-1, 11-8, 5-11, 11-4
2) Frédérique Lambert d. 23) Yazmine Sabja, 11-5, 11-4, 7-11, 7-11, 11-1

LPRT Singles - Semi-finals - Saturday

1) Paola Longoria v. 12) Gabriela Martinez - 1 PM
2) Frédérique Lambert v. 3) Samantha Salas - 10 AM

Follow the bouncing ball….

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